leenamielus took off her hijab in an unexpected way. So she really didn’t expect what happened next.
Tim Armstrong, the CEO of AOL, cut his staff’s retirement benefits. And he blamed this sick baby for it. (Content warning: description of bad pregnancy outcome/sick premature child/hospitalization)
I believe Dylan Farrow.
Here’s what Dylan Farrow’s letter tells us about what our culture has to learn [Bitch Magazine]. Here’s Dylan’s brother Ronan being a stand-up dude [Vanity Fair].
I’m strangely captivated by this shoot Miley Cyrus did for W magazine [Tom and Lorenzo] (NSFW). Still pissed about that racism/Blurred Lines performance though.
The Libertarianz have deregistered as a political party [Scoop]. Guess the invisible hand of the market made its choice, right? Oh no, they’ll be back.
A new mini-campaign for better clothes options has launched with the Clothes Calling Card. Check out Coley Tangerina’s blog for details.
Ableism is implying that a person’s mental health disqualifies them from, well, whatever it is you want to disqualify them from doing. Mad Gastronomer at This is Thin Privilege takes some down.
Next time someone complains that their mediaeval fantasy novel has to have an all-white cast for “realism”, point them to this excellent article about diversity in European history. Speaking of which, it turns out pale skin is a very recent evolutionary development. We’re the aberrations, white people.
Your weekly brain cleanser: Mean Girls quotes on NZ politicians at LOL NZ Politics.
My children have missed days at school because of economic reasons. A year ago, I would not have admitted that. A year ago, I would not have said a word. A year ago, I would have kept my head down and my mouth shut for fear of drawing unwanted attention to myself and the problems I was facing. In the back of my mind, I always hear the voice that says “don’t ever let anyone know you’re doing it tough, because they will take your kids from you”.
Making a serious point with humour, this post at Buzzfeed illustrates five things which are much more likely to happen to you than being falsely accused of rape.
Trying to change your internal vocabulary to avoid ableist language like “dumb” and “lame”? Here’s a handy list of alternatives. (I like “cockwomble” and “Voldemort”.)
Meghan Hughes is amazing on the subject of why it’s okay to drive your car to an anti-oil protest at Hot Topic. Applicable to many progressive movements:
You have a right to demand alternatives to the only choices you have at this current moment. Do not be discouraged or shamed by people who say you cannot live in society at the same time as you try and change how society is organised. Calling for a change is not hypocritical. It is the only rational thing to do.
Andy tails off the Labiaplasty rant by teaching us a bit about our anatomy and shows us some pictures of real life labia. Unfortunately, all of the pictures he uses for demo are Penthouse centrefold style vaginas, rather than the beautiful diversity he was ranting about 2 minutes before. He also refers to the clitoris numerous times as ‘the cute little bit you get to play with’. Gag. What am I? 6?
As seen on Twitter, here are a few links which basically destroy the arguments of any journalist who complains that knowing how to correctly refer to trans people is haaaaaaaard:
- The Associated Press memo on correctly referring to Chelsea Manning (you may just remember this was a slightly big story)
- An article at transgenderlaw.org showing that the AP Stylebook had good advice (under a terrible heading) for gender pronouns as early as 2000.
If you haven’t got the memo that reporting about trans people is a bit of a sensitive issue, you are kindly invited to get the fuck out of journalism and preferably off the planet.
I totally lack the spoons to write the post on domestic violence and the inherent violence of the “men’s/father’s rights” movement, so here’s the amazing Jan Logie talking about domestic violence and protection orders.
This government has shifted the focus from domestic violence to vulnerable children despite domestic violence being one of the most significant risks for children in NZ.
Domestic Violence was not mentioned once in the white paper, despite a large number of submissions raising this issue. There is nothing in the legislation to progress our response to Domestic Violence. In fact it may well move resources away from domestic violence.
Please remember when you’re talking to people about the general election this year that this government doesn’t give a fuck about violence against women and children, except as a vehicle to push more beneficiary-hate.
And finally, a reminder to always be Googling: after seeing this horrific and probably triggering media release on child abuse, I looked up the author, Bruce Tichbon, noble crusader for separated parents, and here he is in 2006, complaining that the Family Court is basically part of a dark feminist agenda to destroy men. It’s funny what conclusions you can draw about someone who says mothers “almost invariably get ownership and control of the family”, isn’t it?
At Salon: Biblical birth control – the surprisingly contraception-friendly Old Testament (in case you needed another reminder that Christian religious extremists aren’t even in line with their own faith’s teachings)
At lip: Victoria becomes the first Australian state to erase the criminal records of gay men. Bloody good move.
A sex worker’s open letter to the Australian media at Tits and Sass:
I have never had anyone adequately explain to me how abolishing my occupation helps me in any way. I will never believe it could make me safer. More importantly, I did not ask and do not wish for non-sex workers, those who would see my right to work abolished, to speak on my behalf. Allowing abolitionist groups or non-sex workers to speak for sex workers does two things: It misinforms the message. Those speaking out on sex work must be sex workers because we speak from the lived experience of sex work. It also takes up space. Sex workers are a marginalized group who have to fight for space to get their message heard. Stop giving sex worker space away.
My Milk Spilt on Parenting through obesity panic.
At the same time as the media tells women we are all ugly, all too huge, all in need of expensive ‘treatments’, it directs mothers to model good self esteem for daughters. Body image advocates stress that mothers should avoid ‘fat talk’ around their kids, lest they pass on their hatred of their minor body ‘flaws’ to impressionable youth. There is no space to talk about what happens when mums are fat, when their bodies are unmentionable.
New housing and retail, top-notch after-school programs, and improved parks and schools have all helped. But much of the credit goes to the Police Department, Morris said.
Brain cleanser for the week: visualize just how excited the team at NASA got when a doughnut-sized rock suddenly appeared on Mars.
[Trigger warning: discussion of transphobia, transmisogyny, misgendering, self harm]
This was going to be a post about Caleb Hannan, a man who calls himself a “journalist” and who, in the course of what he thinks “journalism” is, hounded a trans woman into suicide, and then (because that wasn’t enough) turned his “story” – and the details of her suicide – into a self-aggrandizing, sensationalist narrative about himself.
But you can read many other excellent people’s writing on it:
- Aoifeschatology: Dead Trans Women in the Print Guillotine [note: includes description of suicide attempt]
- Maria Dahvana Headley: Hostile Subjects, Vulnerable Sources and the Ethics of Outing
- At Autostraddle: Why we can’t accept lazy, transmisogynistic journalism
- Shakesville: Careless, Cruel and Unaccountable [note: Shakesville has a history of shitty treatment of trans issues]
I want to discuss a different aspect of this article: the reactions of journalists, predominantly cis men, who have tried to insist:
- we can’t tell her life story without mentioning her gender identity! (when the article was never about her life story)
- it’s just like how we mention people’s past marriages! (when there are obvious differences in how our society treats divorcees and trans women)
- we should focus on the “fascinating” ethical side of this! (when a woman is dead)
And those points are all just so utterly irrelevant to the facts – that a journalist invaded an interviewee’s privacy, ignored her pleas for respect, and exploited her suicide – that I can really only come to one conclusion.
Y’all are a bit fucking insecure about trans women, aren’t you?
Every objection, every insistence that we treat this case as part of a “wider discussion”, every excuse about “telling the full story”, every lie told that Dr V’s gender identity was somehow relevant to a story about a golf putter and possible discrepancies in her academic record, boils down to one thing: WE MUST KNOW THAT SHE IS TRANS! WE MUST! THE WORLD MUST KNOW!
And we have to see this in the context of a society which treats trans women as a punchline – where the scenario of cis-men-who-have-sex-with-trans-women-without-knowing-it is treated as the height of “gotcha! oh snap!” comedy. Ally McBeal. The entire plot of Ace Ventura Pet Detective. Austin Powers. Nip/Tuck. And in a more serious vein, God knows how many episodes of the various Law & Order and CSI franchises – which usually highlight (in their sensationalist way) the real, terrible issue of trans women being murdered by their “betrayed” sexual partners – who are usually portrayed as violent thugs, but you know, violent thugs who maybe had a good reason this time.
The “reverse” situation – cis-woman-has-sex-with-trans-man-without-knowing-it – is almost non-existent.
So we end up in a society where heterosexual cis men are told that having sex with a trans woman is tantamount to having homosexual sex (and therefore wrong! And unmasculine!!!) Where trans women are seen as inherently deceitful, to the point that being-a-trans-woman-and-not-disclosing-your-history-before-sex is tantamount to a deliberate conspiracy to make poor hetero cis men have gay sex (and therefore become Not Real Men!!!) Where the good and proper dudely thing to do is to make sure that all the other dudes know that someone is a trans woman (and thus, to them, Not A Real Woman).
And we end up in a society where Dudes Who Journalise vehemently defend the rights of another Journalist Dude to invade a woman’s privacy, threaten her safety, ignore her pleas and cause her suicide. Using arguments which are irrelevant to the actual facts of the matter.
We end up saying, “how dare you treat this real-life tragedy as a thought experiment”, but what I wonder is: are they really treating this story as a thought experiment? Or does it all just boil down to hetero cis men’s sense of ownership over bodies-they-might-want-to-fuck?
Happy new year, all. Here’s some recommended reading to carry you through the holiday break/the terrible back-to-work blues.
Do you get really eye-twitchingly annoyed at men who sit on buses like their balls are the size of melons? Gods, I do. Fortunately there is not one but two Tumblrs where you can vent your rage (or feel comforted in the knowledge it ain’t just you.) And an article! Hat-tip to SaigonSyl and her merry band of righteous Twitter followers.
Zoe Ferguson at The Wireless on the lack of credit our women athletes receive.
[Trigger warning: family violence, police inaction] Sometimes people’s response to violence is to say “Why didn’t you call the police?” This letter in the Taranaki Daily News may give some insight.
A nice white boy gets himself arrested in New York to see how bad the justice system is from the inside. Answer: really really bad.
What if you just made Bilbo a girl one day? Find out in One weird old trick to undermine the patriarchy.
Another piece of evidence to add to the pile: Your assumptions about welfare recipients are wrong.
Fellow Kiwifeministblogger Deborah Russell is running for Parliament! You can read her awesome stuff here.
A great post to make you think about disability binarism (i.e. the idea you can’t be a wheelchair user if you can walk.)
Studies from all over the world drive home the exact same point: free money helps. Proven correlations exist between free money and a decrease in crime, lower inequality, less malnutrition, lower infant mortality and teenage pregnancy rates, less truancy, better school completion rates, higher economic growth and emancipation rates.
‘The big reason poor people are poor is because they don’t have enough money’, economist Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, dryly remarked last June. ‘It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that giving them money is a great way to reduce that problem.’
It’s the right thing to do on every level: ethical, practical, cost-efficient, proven. And after six years of National Party ministers pulling the ladder up behind them I think it’s a story which could go very far here.
Hat-tip to NRT.
It is scarily awesome to be here, folks, with the 68th Down Under Feminists Carnival. That’s over five years of Antipodean feminist blogging hotness, guaranteed to lift the spirits and standing as a reminder that you sure as shit aren’t alone in this world.
Let’s get this ball rolling!
Sarah Wilson blogs at Write Handed Girl about chronic illness, feminist issues, and living on the sickness benefit. This month she’s covered not calling people crazy, the intersection of reproductive health and mental illness, and how not to be creepy on Twitter.
Trish Corry at polyfeministix writes an open letter to the Australian Prime Minister on the reality of discrimination against women.
Christmas time and 2013 in review
Orlando at Hoyden About Town talks about Saint Lucy and other virgin martyrs. Liz Barr at No Award blogs on A summer Christmas. sleepydumpling reminds us that with the holiday season, the food police will be out in full force.
Sikamikanico writes about how feminist discussions of childbirth often erase the right to choose a Caesarian.
I blogged about Stealing babies: your classist, racist, ableist trifecta and the way people automatically assume doctors must always be doing the right thing because, well, they’re doctors.
Jenna Price in the Sydney Morning Herald (a paper whose URL I can never stop reading as “somuchhate.com.au”) agrees that girls should be allowed to wear shorts at school – but asks why people don’t get outraged when private schools don’t let them?
Chrys Stevenson at Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear talks about the way some couples seem to stick together out of obligation, even when they seem really unhappy, in Dangling conversations.
Amy Gray at Pesky Feminist has put together a transcript of a speech she gave on Breaking through the prison of our skin – a look at the institutional factors that still discriminate against women, specifically in writing and publishing.
Sarah at Maintain the Beige talks about class, gender and the Melbourne Cup.
Sex and relationships
Jo at A Life Unexamined watches a documentary called 40 Year Old Virgins and questions the assumption that everyone must enjoy sex.
Jennifer at No Place for Sheep asks what marriage equality is actually good for – and how the fight for marriage equality gets conflated with the wider argument about the whole institution of marriage.
Rebecca Shaw at SBS ponders the media’s need to immediately label people as hetero, gay, or bi – even when they themselves have clearly avoided pigeonholing themselves. Catherine Deveny takes on Bettina Arndt’s latest musings about
compulsory monogamous heterosexuality marriage. [Note: contains ableist language]
How to survive the internet
Elan Gale is a TV producer who allegedly live-tweeted his Totally Awesome smackdown of a fellow air traveller on Thanksgiving. tigtog at Hoyden About Town takes a look at just how much of a clusterfuck this story is – and what it tells us about misogyny on the internet. Van Badham at Women’s Agenda talks about women, trolls and the Australian media in 2013.
Jennifer Duke posts at feminaust about her recent experience of online harassment, saying Am I overreacting? No, actually, I’m responding reasonably to unreasonable treatment.
sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump was in the news – and with the media attention came the trolls. She writes about the inevitable backlash in In the news again!, challenges the people who declare she can’t really be happy, and calls on us to find our inner fabulous and screw the haters.
Gaayathri at A Human Story points out that she’s learned a hell of a lot from the much-maligned “internet feminism” that she never did in an academic setting in Maybe the internet raised me.
The internet and “real” media
Here at Ideologically Impure I asked where the line is between “news media” and blogs, following a recent case of a (particularly awful) blogger trying to use a journalist’s legal defence to protect a source.
Rallying cries and good feelings
A grab-bag of good reads
Hoyden About Town celebrates Graça Machel. Celeste Liddle talks about why she calls herself black. Chally describes the kafkaesque nightmare of getting an Australian passport. Liz Barr discusses an Australian viewpoint on dystopias in young adult literature.
Orlando at Hoyden About Town calls for an end to the valorisation of ignorance. Mindy makes a few suggestions as to why slim people might be “happier”. Celeste talks more about racism and sexism in the AFL, and also got interviewed about indigenous feminism at The Postcolonialist.
Want more? Check out the DUFC contributors list right here at Ideologically Impure.
The next edition of the DUFC will be hosted by Mindy at Hoyden About Town. Submissions to dufcathat [at] gmail [dot] com for those who can’t access the blogcarnival submissions form.
Blame for this may be entirely laid at the feet of Rhinocrates, NZ Femme and V de Plume. May it serve you well in future headdesk-worthy “debates” with people who keep insisting they’re our allies, now could we please shut up and let them tell us what we want?
[A bingo board of white-and-purple squares, saying: Wait until we win the election! / That’s not a tier one issue / I know I’m banned but … / We already have laws against discrimination / Boutique Identity Politics / That only helps a tiny minority / Let me explain basic politics to you / Of course we all hate sexism, you oversensitive bitch / Rightwing pundits don’t like that / Stop making personal attacks you bitch / You need counselling / That won’t win votes / FREE SQUARE / I’m on your side! / I’m leaving this conversation!!! / Rights are a zero-sum game / We HAVE to focus on the economy (so shut up) / You can have five minutes / That’s just in your head / I’m leaving this conversation THIS TIME!!! / Let’s just agree to disagree / Silencing white male trolls is censorship / But as a redheaded vegan, I have an identity too! / We’re all just ~people~ / You’re scaring away swing voters]